LatinaLista — Yesterday, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) met with President Obama to discuss their concerns that punitive language targeting undocumented immigrants in the Senate healthcare plan would be repeated in the House version that is supposed to be voted on this weekend.
If that’s the case, CHC members have vowed to vote against the bill.
The (CHC) lawmakers said they opposed a provision from the Senate health care bill that would prohibit illegal immigrants from buying private insurance plans on the new health insurance exchanges to be created, even with their own money.
The House bill already would already require immigrants to verify their citizenship in order to receive federal subsidies for insurance. However, the House could be compelled to adopt the stronger Senate language. The White House is backing the Senate language because it is concerned the issue could derail the bill once Senate and House leaders have to merge their proposals.
Already there is speculation that the Democrats may not have enough votes to pass the legislation on Saturday, as they originally planned.
It’s not known for sure if the 20 eligible votes from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are being taken into that prediction but one thing is certain — the men and women of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who will withhold their votes if the unnecessary and mean-spirited language is included in the House version of the bill, did the right thing.
There is nothing more mean-spirited or short sighted than denying undocumented immigrants the opportunity to buy health insurance with their own money.
The fact that the White House is so willing to acquiesce on this point to placate the hysteria rampant in Congress against undocumented immigrants should make all advocates for fair immigration reform more than a little nervous.
The idea that it’s OK to deny health coverage to people who are willing to buy it defies common sense.
If undocumented immigrants are allowed to buy health insurance, gone would be the overuse of emergency rooms (ER) or unpaid ER visits.
In these times of H1N1, why no one can see it makes more sense to have people covered by health insurance, who would be more likely to visit their doctors at the first sign of flu symptoms, rather than wait till they get to the point where they need costly hospitalization, is unfathomable.
Also, if there is a provision in the healthcare bill that would make it a requirement to buy health coverage, then by virtue of the purposeful exclusion of undocumented immigrants, the bill would put them in violation of the law — something that their critics could foreseeably twist to their advantage to show how one more law undocumented immigrants violate, regardless if it’s under their control or not.
The underlying reason for excluding undocumented immigrants is to drive them out of the country but for those people who have children born in this country, have lived here 20 years or more, the reality of the situation is they’re not going anywhere.
As unkind as some citizens are towards them in denying them the opportunity to have affordable medical care, this country is their home by now and they will continue to do what they’ve always done once the healthcare bill passes — pray they don’t get sick.